According to the latest figures released by Nigeria’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), there are 96,303,028 registered voters in the country. The total number of 96,303,028 is an addition of the 84,004,084 registered voters recorded in 2019 and the 12,298,944 registrants from the suspended continuous voters registration (CVR) exercise. The suspended CVR process ran from June 2021 till July 31, 2022.
In preparation for the general elections in 2023, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Electoral Act 2022 into law back in February, after which political parties held primaries for all electable positions. Next on INEC’s timetable is the publication of a final list of nominated candidates for both the National Assembly and the presidential elections in September 2022.
As Nigeria’s constitution provides, citizens 18 years of age and above have a fundamental right to vote in local, state, and federal elections. This article focuses on the presidential elections.
For a country like Nigeria, many factors come into play in determining the winner of the presidential election. These factors include religious sentiments, the number of registered voters in a state, candidates’ popularity, the number of voters who collected their Permanent Voters Card (PVC), party supremacy, etc.
In the 2019 election, 72,775,502 people collected their PVC out of the registered 84,004,084. This means that 11,228,582 didn’t collect their PVC and hence didn’t vote.
Comparison of Geopolitical Zones by Voting Strength and Participation in CVR exercise
In the 2019 presidential election, the North-West region was the largest geopolitical zone by voting strength as well as number of states. The region which comprises Kano, Kebbi, Katsina, Sokoto, Jigawa, Kaduna, and Zamfara State recorded the highest number of PVCs collected with 18,231,193. The North West region of Nigeria, although plagued with terrorism and violence, still led in the number of registered voters in the suspended CVR exercise with 2,514,273 residents.
Recent reports by leaders of Nigeria’s ruling party, the All-Progressive Congress (APC) claim that the region gave the winner of the 2015 and 2019 presidential election 39% of total votes. This is a major election decider.
In second place of the regions with the highest completed registration process is the south-south with 2,458,095 registrants. During the 2019 presidential elections, 11,120,948 registered voters collected their PVCs in that region. The states in the south south region of Nigeria include Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, and Rivers State.
The North Central region comprising Kogi, Benue, Nasarawa, Niger, Kwara and Plateau State, plus the Federal Capital Territory, were the third region with the highest number of completed registration with 2,314,368 residents. 10,540,893 registered voters collected their PVCs in 2019.
Some states in this region have faced a level of insecurity, including Nigeria’s capital. So much so that terrorists attacked the Presidential Guard Brigade. Considering the threatening violence, the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, ordered the closure and evacuation of students of all unity schools in Abuja.
The south-west region comprising Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti State came fourth amongst the regions with the most participants in the suspended CVR exercise with 2,039,982 registrants. In 2019, the region had 12,814,246 registered voters who collected their PVCs.
This region houses Lagos State, Nigeria’s top voting state. Although a Yoruba State and the smallest state in Land mass, Lagos is home to many tribes in the country, as it is Nigeria’s commercial city.
The North East region comprising Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, Yobe, and Maiduguri State accumulated 1,372,712 registrants in the CVR exercise while collected PVCs in 2019 stands at 10,450,882.
The region has a twisted narrative to it as it is home to both the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and running mate to the APC candidate.
The South East region comprising Anambra, Ebonyi, Imo, Abia and Enugu State with 1,261,669 registrants at the CVR exercise recorded 8,590,420 registered voters who collected their PVCs in 2019. The region is home to the candidate of the Labour Party (LP) who is widely regarded as the third force in the 2023 general election.